The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [March 7]

Each week I take a look the Billboard Country Airplay chart and grade the top 30 songs. The grading format I use each week is every song will receive either a +1, -1 or a 0. These will then be tallied up for an overall score, or pulse of the current top thirty country songs, with the highest possible score being a +30 and the lowest possible score being a -30. How do I determine if a song is rated a +1, -1 or 0? The rating it received on the site or myself will determine this. If it hasn’t been rated yet, then I will make the call. Songs rated between 7 and 10 receive a +1. Songs rated a 5 or 6 receive a 0. Songs rated 4 or lower receive a -1.

The goal of this exercise is to evaluate the current state of mainstream country music and determine if it’s improving or getting worse. Let’s take a look at this week’s top thirty…

  1. Randy Houser – “We Went” -1 (Up 2)
  2. Carrie Underwood – “Heartbeat” 
  3. Zac Brown Band – “Beautiful Drug” -1 (Up 1)
  4. Cole Swindell – “You Should Be Here” -1 (Up 4)
  5. Brett Eldredge – “Drunk on Your Love” -1 (Up 2)
  6. Keith Urban – “Break On Me” -1 (Down 5)
  7. Florida Georgia Line – “Confession” (Up 5)
  8. Chase Bryant – “Irrelevant Song A Label is Pushing That Nobody Cares About” -1 (Up 3)
  9. Rascal Flatts – “I Like The Sound of That” -1 (Up 4)
  10. Thomas Rhett – “Die A Happy Man” -1 (Down 1)
  11. Old Dominion – “Snapback” -1 (Up 4)
  12. Chris Stapleton – “Nobody To Blame” +1 (Up 2)
  13. Maren Morris – “My Church” +1 (Up 3)
  14. Dustin Lynch – “Mind Reader” -1 (Up 3)
  15. Lee Brice – “That Don’t Sound Like You” -1 (Up 3)
  16. Chris Young & Cassadee Pope – “Think of You” (Up 3)
  17. Dierks Bentley – “Somewhere On A Beach” -1 (Up 3)
  18. Tim McGraw – “Humble and Kind” +1 (Up 4)
  19. Michael Ray – “Real Men Love Jesus” -1 (Up 2)
  20. Jon Pardi – “Head Over Boots” +1 (Up 4)
  21. Brantley Gilbert – “Stone Cold Sober” -1 (Up 2)
  22. Thomas Rhett – “T-Shirt” -1 (Up 4)
  23. Chris Lane – “Fix” -1 (Up 4) [Worst Song]
  24. Maddie & Tae – “Shut Up and Fish” +1 (Up 1)
  25. David Nail – “Night’s On Fire” -1 (Up 3)
  26. Tyler Farr – “Better in Boots” -1 (Up 3)
  27. Frankie Ballard – “It All Started With a Beer” +1 (Up 3)
  28. Eric Church – “Record Year” +1 (New to Top 30) [Best Song]
  29. Canaan Smith – “Irrelevant Song A Label is Pushing That Nobody Cares About” -1 (New to Top 30)
  30. Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink” +1 (New to Top 30)

The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music: -11

The pulse improved four spots this week. 

Songs That Dropped Out of the Top 30 This Week:

  • Granger Smith – “Backroad Song”
  • Luke Bryan & Karen Fairchild – “Home Alone Tonight”
  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Dibs”

Songs That Entered The Top 30 This Week:

  • Eric Church – “Record Year”
  • Canaan Smith – “Irrelevant Song A Label Is Pushing That Nobody Cares About”
  • Justin Moore – “You Look Like I Need A Drink”

Song I Predict Will Be #1 Next Week:

  • Zac Brown Band – “Beautiful Drug”

Biggest Gainers This Week:

  • Florida Georgia Line – “Confession” – Up 5 from #12 to #7
  • Eric Church – “Record Year” – Up 6 from #34 to #28
  • Seven songs moved four spots this week

Biggest Losers This Week:

  • Kelsea Ballerini – “Dibs” – Out of the Top 30
  • Granger Smith – “Backroad Song” – Out of the Top 30
  • Luke Bryan & Karen Fairchild – “Home Alone Tonight” – Out of the Top 30

Songs I See Going Recurrent & Leaving The Top 30 Soon:

  • Thomas Rhett – “Die A Happy Man”
  • Brantley Gilbert – “Stone Cold Sober”
  • Tyler Farr – “Better in Boots”
  • Keith Urban – “Break On Me”

On The Hot Seat:

  • Michael Ray – “Real Men Love Jesus”

Next Four Songs I See Entering Top 30:

  • Dan + Shay – “From The Ground Up”
  • William Michael Morgan – “I Met A Girl”
  • Kip Moore – “Running For You”
  • Jake Owen – “American Country Love Song”


As always be sure to weigh in on this week’s chart in the comments below.

9 thoughts on “The Current Pulse of Mainstream Country Music [March 7]

  1. jb March 9, 2016 / 11:09 am

    “We Went” is #1? Payola is a powerful drug.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Schott March 9, 2016 / 11:22 am

      Sure is! Second straight week a label has hijacked the chart. But that’s country radio for you.


    • Adam McGurk March 10, 2016 / 6:19 pm

      You’re living in the 50s if you think Payola is still around in country radio. I work in country radio and I can tell you first hand Payola is not a thing.


  2. David F March 9, 2016 / 11:19 am

    this topic is quite interesting and mostly agree with your ratings. in my opinion urban’s song is a +1 or at least a 0. also, chase bryant is a very talented guy: i know he is not country and his song deserves a -1, but i respectfully disagree on the song being irrilevant. I find it quite catchy and my girlfriend’s friends are crazy over that song, bryant does have a fanbase.
    heartbeat should have been the #1 song this week.


  3. Scotty J March 9, 2016 / 11:40 am

    Not sure who will be #1 next week as ‘Heartbeat’ is hanging in there and ‘We Went’ is fading fast as the payola wears off while the Zac Brown song is still quite a ways back. This is what happens when you have about 5-10 corporate radio guys deciding what gets played on hundreds of radio stations across the entire country. Really sad because country radio used to be such a regionally diverse format where certain songs would thrive in different markets but not anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron March 9, 2016 / 11:55 am

      Right, and then you have Billboards official country songs chart which basically gets dominated by Sam Hunt, FGL, Luke Bryan and anybody else who sells alot of downloads regardless of airplay. For the most part it seems like the industry has largely ignored that chart and still focuses on the airplay chart for official rankings.

      I agree Heartbeat seems to be hanging on and with nothing else making a big push and 5 days left it could still hit #1, Its also only been on the chart 14-15 weeks so its not that old yet where it should be going recurrent


  4. OlaR March 9, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    Lol…“Irrelevant Song A Label Is Pushing That Nobody Cares About”
    Here are some other irrelevant songs: “You Should Be Here”, “Drunk On Your Love”, “SnapBack”, “Mind Reader”, “T-Shirt”, “Fix”…

    “Heartbeat” is No.1 in Canada (Billboard Airplay) for a 2nd week & No.1 on Billboards Indicator Charts.
    Rascal Flatts back in the top 10. The Chase Bryant song reached the top 10 after 47 weeks. Pretty sure David Nail can reach the top 10 in the next 20 weeks too. Or 25 weeks. Or 30 weeks…

    The Jake Owen song (Hot Shot Debut on 33) is already a -1. Hope it will drop back next week.
    Martina McBride is new on the 53 & Granger Smith on 59. Brothers Osborne up 7 to 45.
    Big & Rich feat. Tim McGraw is up 5 places to the 36 & William Michael Morgan is moving up 4 spots to 34. His EP will be out next week.

    New Luke Bryan song (Huntin’, Fishin’…) & the new Blake Shelton song (Came Here To Forget) will be huge new entries next week. “Came Here To Forget” is perfect for country radio & just another -1.

    Checkout – Forgotten Artists: Mila Mason
    Mila was on Atlantic Nashville from ’96 to ’98. She recorded two albums & a couple of songs reached the charts. A unique voice was not enough for a longer career. Too many 2nd rated songs.
    The Amanda Marshall penned “Dark Horse” went to No. 21 & “That’s Enough Of That” was her biggest hit (18). Together with “Blood Simple” from her 2nd album (The Strong One) “Dark Horse” is my favourite song.
    Later she worked as a songwriter & for a music publisher in Nashville. She recorded a 3rd album “Stained Glass Window” in 2003. Her current single is “What The Hurt For”.


  5. Amanda March 9, 2016 / 3:41 pm

    Haha on that Canaan Smith song. Boy, it’s stupid.


  6. Danik March 9, 2016 / 4:03 pm

    I was wondering if you guys knew the song “Maybe It’s the Moonshine” by Washboard Union. It’s a hit on country radio in Canada right now. Really good song.


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